Sunday, September 12, 2010

Two stories of the Lightkeeper and the Barker Tavern

An envelope with a surprise inside.

I have written regularly of the many brides that share the Point with us on all the days of the week. Julie has photographed some of them and been chased off by the hired photographer other times. This week we received a card from the Barker Tavern thanking us for letting their brides "invade, ... to take those beautiful lighthouse photos." The card included a gift certificate as well. It was an envelope with a surprise inside and an in the hand example of civility in an age when the same is in doubt.

Just yesterday I was forwarded several documents concerning a Supreme Judicial Court case involving Simeon Bates and the original Mr. Barker. In 1829 Bates and others took timber off the beach at low tide and Barker sued claiming the right to all such lumber. Witnesses spoke to the the taking and to Barker's belief that he had been done wrong. It was from Barker that the United States government had taken the land that became Lighthouse Park and another parcel of land on what is currently Rebecca Road as an alternative site. He clearly felt that he had given all he intended to give to the USA and to Simeon Bates. The Supreme Judicial Court fined Simeon Bates $15.00, an amount the ship builder Luther Briggs testified he believed it to be worth. These hard feelings went on and on as there were continued disputes between the Light keepers and the Barker (later Allen) families about access to the Point by Jericho Road.

Two stories: 180 years apart. I feel certain I got a better deal than Simeon Bates did and that there are a much friendly bunch up on the hill now. We are grateful for it.

Postscript: We had a great dinner at the Barker Pub last night - Chicken Saltimbocca for me and Rib Eye for Julie - she also fit in some Shrimp Cocktail and we mopped up with Cheesecake and Strawberries - Awesome service, atmosphere, dinner - Simeon Bates never had it so good but he also did not have the brides.

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